15 Free Music Production Software Programs. Music soft

15 Free Music Production Software Programs

Here are 15 free music production software programs that are open source and free to download.

We have included software for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Ubuntu.

Please share this post and follow us to show support. Get our free newsletter.

15 Free Music Production Software Programs


Audacity is a free open source software for recording and editing sounds.


  • Record live audio.
  • Record computer playback on any Windows Vista or later machine.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit WAV, AIFF, FLAC, MP2, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording
  • Platform: Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux


Learn More About Audacity

Download Audacity


Ardour is a fully-featured digital audio workstation, similar to other software like ProTools, Nuendo, Sonar and Logic, and capable of replacing analog or digital tape systems.


  • Audio and MIDI Multi-Track Recording and Editing
  • Plugins with Full Sample Accurate Automation
  • Transport Sync and External Control Surfaces
  • Powerful Anywhere-to-Anywhere Signal Routing
  • Video Timeline
  • Platform: Linux and OS X

Music Editing in Ardour

Learn More About Ardour

Download Ardour


LMMS is a free cross-platform software which allows you to produce music with your computer. This covers creating melodies and beats, synthesizing and mixing sounds and arranging samples. You can have fun with your MIDI keyboard and much more.


  • Song-Editor for composing songs
  • A Beat+Bassline-Editor for creating beats and basslines
  • An easy-to-use Piano-Roll for editing patterns and melodies
  • An FX mixer with 64 FX channels and arbitrary number of effects allow unlimited mixing possibilities
  • Many powerful instrument and effect plugins out of the box
  • Full user-defined track-based automation and computer-controlled automation sources
  • Compatible with many standards such as SoundFont2, VST(i), LADSPA, GUS Patches, and MIDI
  • Import of MIDI files, Hydrogen project files and FL Studio ® project files

Video Demo – Sound like Deadmau5 w/ LMMS in Under 10 Minutes

Also check out Learn How To Produce Your Own Music In LMMS

Learn More About LMMS

Download LMMS

DarkWave Studio

DarkWave Studio is a real-time sound editor with a tabbed interface that lets you compose your own music with the assistance of your computer.


  • VST Plug-in Support – Limitlessly Expandable With Instrument and Effects Plugins.
  • Multi Core / Multi CPU Support.
  • Full 64-bit Double Precision Floating Point Audio Processing.
  • Low Latency ASIO And DirectSound Audio Output Support.
  • Platform Support: Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Walk-through Demo

Learn More & Download DarkWave Studio


The orDrumbox is a free drum machine software.


  • Pattern-oriented – You can create songs by assembling various patterns. It’s up to you to determine the number of beats in each pattern (16 or 32 or whatever).
  • Automatic composer and arpeggiator
  • Automatic sound assignations
  • Drum Kits – You can import, create, modify and save drum kits. It’s a “sound library” in one single file.
  • Soft Synth – A soft synth with available and can generate sounds using an analog synth emulation: two VCO generator, FM modulation, envelope ADSR controller, low pass / hi pass filters.
  • Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux

Software Preview

Learn More About orDrumbox

Download orDrumbox


Temper is a MIDI+Audio sequencer with an emphasis on MIDI.  Easily integrate Temper with your other software via basic drag-and-drop behavior, more advanced sync functionality, or seamlessly as a VST.


  • Sophisticated event routing and manipulation
  • Powerful MIDI editing environment
  • Interactive algorithmic composition tools
  • Perform time
  • Multiple takes per track
  • Simultaneous multi-track editing
  • Tool chaining
  • Unified MIDI controllers+VST automation
  • Multicore audio engine

Learn More About Temper

Download Temper


Mixxx has everything you need to start making DJ mixes in a tight, integrated package. Whether you’re DJing your next house party, spinning at a club, or broadcasting as a radio DJ, Mixxx has what you need to do it right.


  • iTunes Integration
  • DJ MIDI Controller Support
  • Powerful Mixing Engine
  • BPM Detection and Sync
  • Platform: Mac,  Windows


Learn More About Mixxx


Hydrogen is an advanced drum machine for GNU/Linux. It’s main goal is to bring professional yet simple and intuitive pattern-based drum programming.


  • Sample-based stereo audio engine, with import of sound samples in .Wav, .au and .aiff formats.
  • Pattern-based sequencer, with an unlimited number of patterns and ability to chain patterns into a song.
  • Up to 192 ticks per pattern with individual level per event and variable pattern length.
  • Unlimited instrument tracks with volume, mute, solo, pan capabilities.
  • Multi layer support for instruments (up to 16 samples for each instrument).
  • Sample Editor, with basic cut and loop functions.
  • Platform: Linux

Drum Sequencer Demo

Learn More About Hydrogen

Download Hydrogen


Rosegarden is a music composition and editing environment based around a MIDI sequencer that features a rich understanding of music notation and includes basic support for digital audio.


  • Editing – Intuitive ways to record and edit notes.
  • MIDI – Managing your MIDI ports, banks, programs and controllers without having to remember any numbers.
  • Notation – Entering, editing and printing score.
  • Audio – Recording, mixing, and using samples and effects.
  • Synths – Playing your MIDI tracks through hosted synths, for more accurate control.

Learn More About Rosegarden

Download Rosegarden


Qtractor is an Audio/MIDI multi-track sequencer application.


  • Multi-track audio and MIDI sequencing and recording.
  • Traditional multi-track tape recorder control paradigm.
  • Audio file formats support: OGG (via libvorbis), MP3 (via libmad, playback only), WAV, FLAC, AIFF and many, many more (via libsndfile).
  • Standard MIDI files support (format 0 and 1).
  • Non-destructive, non-linear editing.
  • Unlimited number of tracks per session/project.
  • Unlimited number of overlapping clips per track.
  • Platform: Linux

Qtractor Demo

Learn More About Qtractor

Download Qtractor


MusE is a MIDI/Audio sequencer with recording and editing. MusE aims to be a complete multitrack virtual studio for Linux.


  • Realtime Record/Playback several mono/stereo inputs/outputs.
  • Graphical editing of automation
  • Several types of audio tracks: Audio inputs, Audio outputs, Wave tracks, Group tracks, Aux outputs
  • Standardized plugin formats: LADSPA, DSSI, VST
  • Drag and drop import and arranging of: Plugins and plugin presets, Parts, Midi files, Audio files, Aux outputs
  • Platform: Linux

Learn More About MusE

Download MusE

Linux Sampler

The LinuxSampler is a open source audio sampler with high stability, efficiency and very low latency, providing professional grade features, comparable to both hardware and commercial Windows/Mac software samplers.

Platform: Windows / Mac

Learn More About Linux Sampler

Download Linux Sampler

Spek – Acoustic Spectrum Analyser

Spek helps to analyse your audio files by showing their spectrogram.


  • Supports all popular lossy and lossless audio file formats thanks to the FFmpeg libraries.
  • Ultra-fast signal processing, uses multiple threads to further speed up the analysis.
  • Shows the codec name and the audio signal parameters.
  • Allows to save the spectrogram as an image file.
  • Drag-and-drop support; associates with common audio file formats.
  • Auto-fitting time, frequency and spectral density rulers.
  • Adjustable spectral density range.
  • Translated into 19 languages.
  • Platform: Unix, Windows and Mac OS X.

Learn More & Download Spek

MuLab ( Offers limited free version )

MuLab 6.0 features an enhanced look and feel and a rich collection of new and improved features throughout the app that all together seriously increase the creativity, comfort and productivity of MuLab.


  • Create, record, edit and play multi-track audio & music.
  • Flexible tracks and sub-tracks support audio, MIDI and automation parts.
  • Easy modular architecture.
  • Top-quality uncompromised sound engine.
  • Super-fat oscillators with 300 selected waveforms + support for user waveforms.
  • Multi-core CPU support.
  • Automatic mono/stereo handling.
  • Advanced integration between composer and sound engine.
  • Automation parts let you easily automate any parameter in the modular tree structure, even the deepest nested ones.
  • Platform: Mac, Windows

MuLab 6 Intro

Learn More About MuLab

Download MuLab


GarageBand is the easiest way to create a great-sounding song on your Mac. Add realistic, impeccably produced and performed drum grooves to your song with Drummer.


  • Add a virtual session drummer to your song that takes direction and plays realistic beats
  • Create a song with up to 255 tracks
  • Quickly change the timing of an audio recording using Flex Time
  • Use your iPad and Multi-Touch gestures to wirelessly play any GarageBand instrument on your Mac
  • Choose your best performance with multi-take recording
  • Platform: Free with Mac OS

Software Example – New Trap Beat on Garageband

Learn More About Garageband

Download Garageband

Suggested Music Equipment

Here are the most popular and top rated music production products online.

MIDI Drum Controllers Headphones MIDI Keyboard USB Audio Interfaces Microphones Studio Monitors

Sell Your Music & Products

Create a website to sell music, beats, and products. Build an online brand. View Template »

I hope you guys find this software to be helpful.

If you are looking for more software options make sure you check out 8 Popular Paid Music Production Software Programs.

Did I miss any other free music production software?

P.S. If you want access to more free VST plugins, free samples, drums, and our best free content sign up for our newsletter.


List of music software - Wikipedia

This is a list of notable software for creating, performing, learning, analyzing, researching, broadcasting and editing music. This article only includes software, not services. For streaming services such as iHeartRadio, Pandora, Prime Music, and Spotify, see Comparison of on-demand streaming music services. For storage, uploading, downloading and streaming of music via the cloud, see Comparison of online music lockers. Although this field is only 46 years old, this list does not include discontinued historic or legacy software, with the exception of trackers that are still supported.[1][2] For example, the company Ars Nova produces music education software, and its software program Practica Musica has remnants of the historic Palestrina software. Practica will be listed here, but not Palestrina.[3] If a program fits dozens of categories, such as a comprehensive DAW or a foundation programming language (e.g. Pure Data), listing is limited to its top three categories.

Types of music software[edit]

CD ripping software[edit]

Choir and learn-to-sing software[edit]

This section includes both choir software and learn-to-sing software. For music learning software, see music education software.

DJ software[edit]

Digital audio workstation (DAW) software[edit]

Computer music software[edit]


This section only includes software, not services. For services programs like Spotify, Pandora, Prime Music, etc. see Comparison of on-demand streaming music services. Likewise, list includes music RSS apps, widgets and software, but for a list of actual feeds, see Comparison of feed aggregators. For music broadcast software lists in the cloud, see Content delivery network and Comparison of online music lockers.

Lyrics and Vocals[edit]

MIDI plug-ins[edit]

Music analysis software[edit]

Music circuit software[edit]

Music composing software[edit]

Music education software[edit]

  • EarMaster
  • InstrumentChamp (video game for also acoustic guitar, and piano, drum, sax and trumpet; multiplayer)
  • MuseScore
  • Reaktor (software creation of nearly every instrument; reverse engineering encouraged)
  • Rocksmith (video game with emphasis on instructional aspects; unique in that controller can be any electric guitar w/ 1/4" jack)
  • Synthesia (video game with piano instruction aspects)
  • WaveSurfer (studies of acoustic phonetics)
  • Yousician (educational game to learn to play guitar and piano)

Music gaming software[edit]

Music mathematics software[edit]

Music notation software[edit]

Music player software[edit]

Music research software[edit]

Music technology, synthesis and o/s software[edit]

Music visualization software[edit]

  • Advanced Visualization Studio (Justin Frankel) (platform: Windows)
  • Cthugha (1993, Kevin "Zaph" Burfitt) (platform: DOS)
  • Magic Music Visuals (2012-2018, Color & Music, LLC) (platforms: Windows, OS X)
  • MilkDrop (2001-2012, Ryan Geiss) reimplemented as projectM (platforms: Windows, Linux, Android)
  • Neon (2004, Jeff Minter and Ivan Zorzin) (platform: Xbox 360)
  • Psychedelia, (1984, Jeff Minter), an early "light synthesizer", did not use audio input but was designed to create visualizations in accompaniment to music.
  • Pure Data (e.g. visualization of incoming music signals)
  • G-Force (2000, Andy O'Meara, SoundSpectrum) (platforms: Windows)
  • Virtual Light Machine (1990, Jeff Minter) (platform: Atari Jaguar)
  • Visual Music Tone Painter (1992–2004)[6]
  • Vsxu (2003-2014, Vovoid) (platforms: Windows, Linux)

Orchestration software[edit]

This section is about music orchestration software. For orchestration software as used in information technology, see Orchestration (computing).
Drums and Percussion[edit]
Pipe organ[edit]
  • Hauptwerk produces audio in response to MIDI signal from attached keyboard or from a MIDI sequencer[7]

Automatic composition software[edit]

Samplers and Sequencers[edit]

Soundtrack creation software[edit]


Virtual Studio Technology Hosting Software[edit]

Virtual Synthesizer and Studio Software[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Short History of Computer Music". UCSC.edu. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "The 14 pieces of software that shaped modern music". FactMag.com. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  3. ^ Walter B. Hewlett, Computing in Musicology, 1990, p. 112, Stanford Music Lab, Menlo Park, CA. Ars Nova (educational music software company, not music style) is at Ars Nova Software
  4. ^ "Sound and Sonification—Wolfram Language Documentation". Retrieved 5 January 2017. 
  5. ^ "Music & Math". Retrieved 5 January 2017. 
  6. ^ "Intelligence, new visions of artificial intelligence in practice". 11. Association for Computing Machinery. 2000. 
  7. ^ Thomas Wichmann, The Hauptwerk Computer Program, Review in "The American Organist" 2004 July
  8. ^ VST plug-ins 


Music software - Wikipedia

Music software is software used for musical composition, digital recording, the creation of electronic music, and other musical applications. Music software has been around for nearly 40 years.[1] It has been seen to have profound impacts on education involving music and creative expression. Musical software has become an outlet for people who do not bond with traditional musical instruments, giving people new and creative ways to compose and perform music in ways that has never been seen before.[2]


Music software development dates back to the 1960s and 70s.[1] While this software was at best primitive, it nonetheless helped lay the foundation for the future development of the software and synthetic musical production. The early music software was run on large computers at several universities such as Stanford and Penn State.[1] Much of what development came to music software came as a result of the continuous improvement to computers over time.[1] Chain of development is seen clearly in 1978 when nearly 50 music programs came out as a result of MIDI technology, a form of computer communication still used today.[1] MIDI technology provided the key link in hardware for musical software, giving a person a tactile control of an instrument and playing directly into the software in the computer and allowing for maximum control of the production.[1] Fourth generation music software came out in the early 1990s. The largest improvement with this software was the addition of more detailed displays allowing the music software to show more on the screen making the program much easier to use and understand.[1] An important recent development is to automatically transcribe performed music directly to sheet music as developed by ScoreCloud.[3] Today, there are many different music making software packages.


The effects of music software are seen in almost every song heard today in one way or another.[1] More than ever before, songs are being recorded into DAWs (digital audio workstations) because of their ease of use and their ability to easily manipulate audio files. Much of what used to take a team of professionals to do in a recording studio can now be done on a single computer.[1]


Music software has led to new ways of education in relation to music.[2] New and emerging science and studies are proving that music software is an effective way in making students more creative at a younger age by providing them with all of the instruments they could ever want within one, streamlined music program.[2] With live loop and sample playing DAWS that can play multiple samples of audio or midi files live with a controller triggering these samples, a new breed of instruments are available to students, allowing them to express themselves in ways never before seen.[2]

Various schools and colleges have emerged with courses in Music Production and more so in electronic music production. Every Continent has at-least one such notable institute with The North American and European continents leading the way forward. Among the most popular among the youth are, in no specific order:

The future[edit]

This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (February 2017)

Computers have now been made that can improvise music scores on their own, using complex algorithms.[4] While functioning on a mathematical algorithm, it is nevertheless producing notes of its own without human instruction. Educators are beginning to recognize that computers hold the future of music.[2] The software being developed for these machines will take music to new and startling heights with the help of computer-based production.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Peters, David (November 1992). "Music Software and Emerging Technology". Music Educators Journal. No. 3. 79: 22–63. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Nikolaidou, Georgia (22 Feb 2010). "A New Insight In Puplis' Collaborative Talk, Actions and Balance During a Computer-Mediated Music Task". Computers and Education: 720–740. 
  3. ^ Glass, Nick. "Is this Google Translate for Music". CNN.com. 
  4. ^ Brown, Oliver (29 Aug 2009). "Experiments in Modular Design for the Creative Composition of Live Algorithms". Centre for Electronic Media Art. 


Free music software, midi files, mp3s, online music lessons, sheet music, Midi and MP3 players

Freebyte's Guide toFree Music Software

      Contents  Free Music Notation SoftwareAnvil StudioFreeware music notation, sequencer and harddisk recording program for Windows.Bucket o' TabFree guitar tablature editor for Windows.CMNCMN (Common Music Notation) is a free western music notation package written in Common Lisp. Freeware, multi-platform.DenemoDenemo is a graphical musical score editor, and serves as a frontend to Lilypond. Runs on Windows and Linux.Easy MusicComposer FreeFreeware automatic composition program for Windows.GNU LilyPond LilyPond is a freeware and open-source music notation program for Windows and Linux. It produces music notation from a description file. LilyPond input is plain text. So, you can use your favorite text editor to enter it, for example: \key c \minor r8 c16 b c8 g as c16 b c8 d | g,4iabcA free music notation program based on the ABC programming language for WIndows, Unix and Linux. JAMEasy and fast music editor + sequencer for entering chords and notes. MuseScoreFreeware music notation program for Linux and Windows.MusetteFree Music/Song Editor for Windows. Musette simplifies creation and distribution of public domain songs as lyrics and music are included together in one file. Special features help create, edit, play and print scores and songs, even if you're not familiar with music notation. NoteEditA free music score editor for Linux with an unlimited number and length of staffs, polyphony, MIDI playback, creating chords, lyrics, and many import/export formats.Philip's Music WriterA music typesetting program for Unix; it operates by reading an input file containing an encoded description of the music; such a file can be constructed using any text editor.RosegardenFreeware, open-source audio and MIDI sequencer, score editor, and general-purpose music composition system for Linux.  
TreePad X Enterprise384 Gigabyte Personal Information Manager and Word Processor.Intuitive and versatile, including Website Generator, spellchecker, thesaurus, attachments, search engine, recycle bin, and much more! For Windows and Linux/Wine.Click here to get the free evaluation version.
 Non-free Music Notation SoftwareAllegroMusic notation program for Windows and MAC: $ 199 USD.CapellaIntuitive music-notation program for Windows.FinalePowerful music notation program for Windows and MAC: $ 600 USD.Finale NotePadLow-cost score/notation program for MAC and Windows.Finale NotePad is a lite version of the highly esteemed programs Allegro and Finale. Igor EngraverQuality music Notation program for MAC and Windows. Standard version for Windows and MAC costs $ 295. MozartConvenient music Notation program for $ 120 USD. Runs on Windows.NoteWorthy ComposerProgram to compose, edit and playback musical scores. Runs on Windows. $ 39 USD.SibeliusMusical score editing program for $ 600 USD. Suitable for Mac and Windows.SmartScoreGets printed music into your computer through scanning. Converts a sheet of music into midi, music notation + playback. From $ 99.TurandotNotation program for Windows, $ 165, which includes professional score printing quality and free access to score library.  Free educational Music softwareNoteCardFreeware for Windows. Educational software that will give you drill at recognizing music notes. It can significantly shorten the time it takes to learn to recognize the notes instantly, an absolutely necessary ability for fluent reading. As notes are displayed on a musical staff, you enter the note name, or click in the appropriate place on a piano keyboard or guitar neck graphic. Provides practice with both treble and bass staves. Work through twelve levels as your skill builds. Homestudy InstituteOf DrumsFree downloadable mini-homestudy course for beginning drummers.Impro-VisorA free music notation program for MAC, Linux and Windows, designed to help jazz musicians compose and hear solos similar to ones that might be improvised. The objective is to improve understanding of solo construction and tune chord changes. Free Software SynthesizersAmbient AutomatFree online experimental Java synthesizer+drum machine. Runs in your browser so does not need to be installed.Analog BoxAnalog Box is powerful sound design program invented to create 'jambots', which are robots that jam. It has a flow chart style interface and high performance DSP engine allow rapid creation of circuits that can be used for a variety applications. Freeware for Windows.BuzzFree modular software based synthesizer for Windows. It is based on a system of objects, which may be routed in a modular fashion, giving you the freedom to be as creative as you want. For example, if you wish to run 3 Physical Modelling synths and a Drum Machine through 2 seperate Stereo Delays, into a Mixer, through a Compressor and Parameteric EQ, and finally out to your speakers - no problem. Lay down your synths, connect the wires and you're done.CoagulaCoagula is an image synth. This means that it is both a program for creating and manipulating images, and a program for generating sound from those images. Runs on Windows. Freeware for non-commercial use. FriedSpace.comSoftware SynthesizerA musical instrument synthesizer for creating digital samples in .wav format. Includes distortion, compression, white noise, overtone, envelope and filter features.MyOrganFreeware program to load and play virtual pipe organs. It can combine the individual pipe sounds and organ behaviors to simulate a variety of pipe organs.Stomper HyperionFreeware drum-sound synthesizer for Windows.SubSynthSubSynth is a freeware synthesiser program for Windows. It uses subtractive synthesis - the method used by analogue synthesisers like Moogs and Roland TB303s.SydFreeware, open-source modular software synthesizer for Windows and MAC.Synth2Freeware software synthesizer for Windows.TimidityFreeware 32-voice software sound-generator (midi expander) for SUN-os , HPUX and LINUX.WaveCraftFreeware modular analogue synthesiser emulator for Windows.Zrs.SynthJava synthesizer which runs as an applet inside your Webbrowser. Free Text-to-SpeechFestivalFreeware, open-source Linux speech synthesizer and text-to-speech system.Quick start tip: after installing it, open a terminal window and type:echo "This is a text" | festival --ttsor to hear a file such as test.txt:festival --tts test.txtText to VoiceFreeware text-to-speech plugin for Mozilla Firefox. Just select a piece of text in your Webbrowser, and do "Right-click/speak it"or press the small speaker at the right-hand bottom of your screen.TypeIt ReadItReads aloud texts in realtime and can also convert texts to wav files. Freeware for Windows.AnalogX SayItFree basic speech synthesizer by AnalogX for Windows.CepstralNon-free. Text-to-speech software with highly professional voices for Linux, Windows, MAC and Solaris. From $ 29.95. Non-free Software SynthesizersAudioMulchInteractive Music Studio. AudioMulch is a program for real-time sound synthesis, music composition and audio processing. Runs on Windows. Price: $ 50 USD.CellSynthThis program consists of a matrix. Each square in the Matrix is called a Cell and contains a sound processor. Connect and configure the cells to create your sounds. Runs on MAC. Price: $ 95.DreamStationSynthesizer: subtractive synthesis combined with FM synthesis, 96 Oscillators organized into 32 separate voices VCA, LFO, User EG for each voice, distortion, ring modulation, etc. Sequencer: 32 tracks step time sequencer, 100 Patterns with 32 tracks and a maximum of 128 steps each, midi syncrhonization, etc. HauptwerkHauptwerk is a generic computer simulation of a pipe organ. It is a computer program into which you can load different pipe organs and play them using a MIDI keyboard or sequencer. $ 90.Native InstrumentsCompany specialized in high-quality software synthesizers, and emulators, such as Reactor and Absynth.ReasonPowerful software synthesizer, audio workstation, sampler, sequencer, etc.for Windows and MAC: $ 500.SynthfontA tool for playing MIDI files making use of SoundFonts. It also enables you to render audio files (".WAV" files) from Midi files without needing a sound card.WinGrooveWavetable synthesizer for Windows: $ 20 USD. Free SequencersMusEEasy and fast MIDI/Audio sequencer for Linux, with recording and editing capabilities.Music Studio ProducerFree sequencer for Windows.Jazz++A full featured, audio capable midi sequencer for Linux and Windows. Freeware, open-source. MidiMountainFreeware midi sequencer for Linux and Windows.Modern Midi SequencingIn-depth article on midi-sequencing by Scott R. Garrigus. Free Multi-media authoringtrakAxPCFree multi-media software for creating music and video mixes on your PC. Free Audio Convertersonline-ConVert.comFree online media file converter. It converts: audio files, video files, image files, documents, ebooks. It can also create a Hash value from a file Free Sound Recorders and EditorsAnvil StudioFreeware music notation, sequencer and harddisk recording program for Windows.ArdourA multi-track digital audio workstation for Linux and MAC. Freeware, open-source.AudacityFreeware, open source program for recording and editing sound on Mac, Windows, Linux, etc.Fast RecorderFast-starting freeware wave sound recorder - it puts an icon on Windows' icontray, when you click on it will immediately start recording, for example if you hear a song you like on the Internet radio, you can instantly start recording it.Fat Rock StudioFree 16-channel multitrack digital audio recorder for Windows.KristalFreeware 16-track recorder + sound editor for Windows.MultitrackStudioMultitrackStudio is audio/MIDI multitrack recording software for Windows. It combines a multitrack recorder, a mixer, lots of effects and a MIDI sequencer in one package.The Lite version is freeware. Quarz Audio MasterFreeware sound editor, recorder and mixer for Windows.Vocal removerRemoves vocals from audio tracks.WavePadFree Windows program for recording and editing sound data. It supports cut, copy and paste, effects (like echo, amplification and noise reduction), the file formats wav, mp3, vox, gsm, real audio, au, aif, flac, ogg and more. Free RippersExact Audio CopyConverts audio CD's to music files (mp3, flac, wma, wav, etc.). Freeware for Windows.Express RipA freeware CD ripping program for Windows that lets you extract digital audio tracks directly from audio CDs to mp3 or wav audio files.BonkEncMakes a backup of your CD's to MP3, Ogg, etc. Freeware for Windows. Non-free Music and Sound editorsAudiotoolsSound recorder and MP3 Converter for Windows. An evaluation version is available. Price: $ 25.FlexiMusic Wave EditorAudio editor also suitable for huge-file editing, effects, cut/copy/paste/delete, undo, mix, MP3, WAV, WMA, AU, RAW, SND, etc.An evaluation version for Windows is available, the registration price is $20.  Free Music PlayersMusic Playerby Freebyte.comFreeware music player for Linux, with easy user-interface. It supports MP3, Wav, OGG and AIFF files. Music Player does not need to be installed and it is fully portable (it can run directly off a USB stick).MIDInight ExpressFree programmable, software wavetable MIDI player and MIDI to WAV renderer for Windows.MP3StripFreeware, small, simple but effective MP3 player for MAC.SAPFree streaming audio player for Windows.SoritongSkinnable MP3 player. Also plays other formats, such as WMA.UltraPlayerFreeware for Windows. Plays MP3, WMA, RealAudio, WAV, MIDI, CD Audio, Internet radio, and video files (Windows Media, AVI, MPEG, Real).WinampFreeware skinnable MP3 and CD player for Windows.XMMSFreeware for Linux, plays MP3, MOD, MID and WAV.XMPlayA free audio player for Windows, which supports many file formats, such as: OGG, MP3, MP2, MP1, WMA, WAV, CDA, MO3, IT, XM, S3M, MTM, MOD, UMX audio formats, and PLS/M3U/ASX/WAX playlists.YAMPFreeware audio player for Windows, plays mp3, mod, wav, mid, rmi, CD, etc.iTunesMP3 and internet radio player for MAC and Windows. Freeware, rather memory hungry. 
TreePad X Enterprise384 Gigabyte Personal Information Manager and Word Processor.Intuitive and versatile, including Website Generator, spellchecker, thesaurus, attachments, search engine, recycle bin, and much more! For Windows and Linux/Wine.Click here to get the free evaluation version.
 Free Karaoke PlayersvanBasco'sKaraoke PlayerFree Karaoke MIDI player for Windows - many options: change tempo, volume, key of song, font, colors, number of lines (up to four), background image, shows notes, volumes, and instruments, mute or play solo individual instruments, display notes on a big piano keyboard, etc. Free Music-related utilitiesFast File Renamer

A free program which can help you with the tedious task of renaming large numbers of files. It can be used by anyone who needs to keep large collections of files organized (such as mp3 files, image and graphics files, web-site-related files, system files).

For Windows and Linux/Wine.Created by Freebyte.com.

Duplicate Music Files FinderFree program to track duplicate music files and delete them. It uses advanced search techniques to detect duplicates and detects duplicates even if the file names are not the same.Media ConvertFree online media-file converter. Converts sound, video and text files to other formats. Music systems, languages, formatsChucKAn audio programming language for real-time synthesis, composition, and performance for MacOS X, Windows, and Linux. ChucK presents a new time-based concurrent programming model, which supports a more precise and fundamental level of expressiveness, as well as multiple, simultaneous, dynamic control rates, a precise and straightforward concurrent programming model, and the ability to add, remove, and modify code, on-the-fly, while the program is running, without stopping or restarting. It offers composers, researchers, and performers a powerful and flexible programming tool for building and experimenting with complex audio synthesis programs, and real-time interactive control.cSoundCsound is a programming language designed and optimized for sound rendering and signal processing. To produce or process a soundfile with Csound, or to play a Csound instrument in real-time, one typically selects the orchestra and score through a simple "launcher" and then clicks on the "render" button to start the program compiling.Salieri The SALIERI System is an interactive software environment for structure oriented composition, manipulation and analysis of music. It is based on the SALIERI Language, a newly developed programming language which has been designed to facilitate specification and manipulation of musical material on the score level. GuidoThe GUIDO Music Notation Format is a formal language for score level music representation. It is a plain-text, i.e. readable and platform independent format capable of representing all information contained in conventional musical scores. The GUIDO design is strongly influenced by the objective to facilitate an adequate representation of musical material, from tiny motives up to complex symphonic scores.SuperColliderOpen-source environment and programming language for real time audio synthesis. You can write programs to generate or process sound in real time or non real time. SuperCollider can be controlled by MIDI, the mouse, Wacom graphics tablet, and over a network via Open Sound Control. SuperCollider can read and write sound files in AIFF, WAV, Sound Designer 2, and NeXT/Sun formats.Freeware, open-source. For MAC. Virtual Sampler SDKNon-free. $ 99 USD. Virtual sampler SDK enables you to embed a Wavetable synthesizer into your programs. This software development kit is suitable for usage in combination with Watcom C/C++, Visual C/C++, C++ Builder, Delphi and Visual Basic. Symbolic ComposerNon-free music composition and generation system for Windows and MAC ($ 395). Symbolic Composer includes many features, such as: context-free scoring language, 1000 music algorithms, Lisp interpreter, 300 microtonal scales, programmable neurons, etc. Other Music-software related sitesMusic Notation LinksMusic fonts, music software, tutorials, notation formats, links, etc.The complete alphabeticlisting of music softwareVery large list of free, demo and non-free music programs. Short descriptions, alphabetically ordered. Related Freebyte PagesFreebyte Music ZoneFree MP3 files, midi files, free music videos, free sheet music, free samples and loops, online music lessons, music and audio search engines, etc.Free Electronics on-lineFree PCB Design Tools, Circuit Design/Simulation Tools, Free Electronic Circuits, Connector and Pinout reference, Datasheets, Electronics Tutorials, Free Electronics Resources, etc.Free Radio OnlineListen to thousands of free online radio channels from around the world using just your computer.Free Video and TelevisionFree online videos and television channels from around the world.Free software to watch videos and television over the Internet.Free Softwarecreated by FreebyteFree Personal Information Managers, free File and Disk Utilities, free Address Books, free eBook Software and more. All created by Freebyte.com.Free images, icons,clipart, backgrounds,photosDownload images and clipart for free, royalty-free stock photographs, thousands of free fonts, free icons, free GIFs, animated GIFs, free backgrounds, wallpapers, etc. Free GraphicsSoftwareFree Paint Programs, Free Image Viewers, Free Photo Albums, Free graphics converters, 2-D Animation Software, 3-D / Animation software and more!Education On-lineOnline courses, education for kids, online university education, educational resources.Free Games Free chess, free checkers, free go, free card games, free puzzle games, free arcade games, free games CD-roms, free online games, free games for download, cheats, virtual pets, role playing, and more! Free ScreensaversFree screensavers, cursors, ringtones and desktop themes. Free 3D screensavers, nature, funny and artistic screensavers, screensaver construction packages which don't require any programming, and more. Free Home pagesPublish your own Web pages for free! Find the best service to host your home page. Create your Web page without any knowledge of HTML. Free services which enable you to run your own CGI scripts (PHP, ASP, Perl, etc.). Free eBooksFree ebooks, free eBook authoring tools, free photo albums.Free DictionariesFree online dictionaries for a multitude of languages, free specialized dictionaries (medicine, business, sports, computing, construction...), free thesauri, free online spellcheckers, language tools, language links, and more.FreebyteReference DeskFree online encyclopedias, maps, satellite images, electronics, computing, physics, science, etc.Jokes and HumorThe best jokes, funny stories, links to caricatures and cartoons, 'Microsoft bashing', Dutch Humor, and links to other humor resources.  Information wanted! If you know of any free music software or resources, especially notation/score programs, please let us know! About this pageLast updated on December 07, 2011

Copyright: Freebyte.comAlmere, the Netherlands

If you have any comments about this page,please mail us here


Top 10 Best Music Production Software – Digital Audio Workstations

So you’ve got the gear…but do you have the software to lay it all down with? You can’t paint without a canvas. Perhaps you’re looking to switch to a more popular, supported digital audio workstation? Some say it’s all about the musician and that the recording software doesn’t matter…we agree, but to a certain extent. Give somebody like DJ Premier or Danger Mouse a vintage Boss drum machine and they can probably still make a hit. However, in our opinion you need the proper software to give you the full capabilities of the song you’ve worked so hard on building inside of your head — something to really transfer those ideas into a reality. You also need to optimize your workflow to simplify the process of making music so you don’t even have to think anymore — you can just create. With that being said, picking the best DAW can be dependent on a few factors. Let’s review the top 10 best digital audio workstations out today and help you pick which DAW is best for you.

What is a digital audio workstation (DAW)?

A digital audio workstation is basically a blank piece of paper and the necessary paint brushes for an artist to create their works of art on. All you need to bring is some sounds, your talent, and most of all, your creativity. A DAW is a computer program designed for editing, recording, mixing and mastering audio files. You can record your various instruments, MIDI controllers and vocals, lay down the tracks, rearrange, splice, cut, paste, add effects, and ultimately finalize the song you’ve got cooking for the world to hear.

Professional, semi-pro and home studios use DAWs as their backbone for making music if their main focus is to have a digital setup. Aside from those who use real instruments, we do know of some well-known musicians who still use analog setups, such as drum machines and synthesizers with real mixing boards and the like, but a majority of people nowadays are strictly computer-based or at least have a hybrid studio to incorporate both (why not?). This trend only continues to grow as technology advances. Aside from a computer or laptop for music of course, a DAW is the most important piece of production gear you’ll need to get the ball rolling for those masterpieces waiting to be created.

How to choose your production software

To us, choosing your DAW is like picking which soda to drink. Either way you go, it won’t necessarily be wrong especially in this day and age. As you can see in the comments, this decision brings much debate (rightfully so, and we’re glad it does since it allows us to continue to evolve and learn about music production as a whole — keep them coming). However, taking into consideration your personal needs is very crucial. Here are some important aspects to keep in mind during your search that we recommend.

  • Your budget – We always list this first in our music equipment guides because it’s a pretty big given, but it’s always something to think about. Our opinion and mind state is to think of this as an investment. Typically a 4-5 year and beyond one (like buying a car), so you’re going to want to get it right. We’ve been using our DAW now for more than 10 years! Why fix what isn’t broken? With that being said, there is always free music software out there you can check, but we do recommend that if it takes saving up a few more hundred dollars, it’s worth it to wait. You want to think long-term, but before you do drop that money most of these companies offer free trials (which we’ll provide).
  • What is your experience level? If you’re starting out, you don’t want to get too crazy in terms of a DAW, such as going with Pro Tools right away (they have entire school programs created for this software after all). You want to start with something that you can easily understand and use in order to get your music-making skills going. In that case, we’d recommend our newly published best beginners music software guide. Getting an expert-level software from the start can not only take months to learn but also be daunting, ultimately discouraging producers from continuing to sharpen their craft. Don’t get us wrong, if you’re the type to want to go big right away, be our guest. However, as stated in our beginners recording equipment article, we do recommend starters begin with something a bit smaller. On the other hand, if you’re a bit more experienced and you’re looking to take a step up, going the extra yard and getting an expert-level software such as Pro Tools may be hard at first, but an ultimate investment when thinking of the future. Which brings our next point.
  • Think about the future, too – If you are a beginner, take the previous bullet-point into consideration, but keep the long-term in mind as well. Starting with a beginner software is great for right at the beginning, but it may get boring after your first year or two and you need to keep in mind that you’ll eventually be good enough to use more functions of the software. For children or youngsters, starting at a beginner-level is most recommended, but if the DAW you chose at first has a low ceiling, you’ll eventually have to make a switch and learn an entirely new software (it’s what I did with Acid Pro…I had to eventually move on to Ableton which took me some time to learn — although I did understand the universal basics of music software, so it wasn’t too bad). We’d go with something in the middle – a software that will take some time to learn, but will ultimately offer some valuable advanced features down the road when you’re ready. Although in the end, even the “beginner” programs could last you quite a long time (well-known musicians still use software considered to be ‘entry-level’ such as FL Studio).
  • Do you perform live? A few of the software we list are more optimal for performing live, such as giving us some easy integration with MIDI controllers, VST instruments, control surfaces and other live performance-specific gear and features. Live performance gear gets a bit more tricky and you’ll want to make sure all of your tools flow well together. Regarding software, there are some more live-tailored features in some DAWs, such as saving presets, matching the interface with what you’ve got in front of you, etc. Some are just more geared to live performances, while others being for when you’re deep inside of the studio well-past midnight. Ultimately however, any software is fine for performing live.
  • Stick with what you’ve chosen – The more familiar you become with software you’ve picked, the quicker and easier you workflow is, the more confident you become, and ultimately, the better your music sounds. Think you’ve learned a DAW to its fullest? Learn it again. Look into hot keys, extensions, etc. Join message boards or subreddits about the software to brainstorm with others. The more you know about your software, the easier it is to get those thousands of ideas circulating in your brain during your production onto the piece of paper. It’s an investment, but once it’s as smooth as butter, pumping out that music becomes even more beautiful as times goes on (it almost becomes second nature, such as driving a car). Don’t fix what isn’t broken.
  • Relax! It’s 2018 — the digital age is here, and most of the production software out there is up-to-date and very popular. Either way you go with the 10 we’ve listed, you’re getting lifetime support, huge communities with message boards, and YouTube tutorials on any of the software you choose. You can’t really go wrong with one or the other, even if you’re a beginner. So don’t panic.

Our picks for the top 10 best music creation software

Below is our list for top 10 best DAWs out there. Take into consideration the level you’re currently at, where you plan on being for the future as well as the overall capabilities you’re looking for. Visit their website or the purchase link we provide for more information. We also tried to throw in the free trials and a few video overviews. We hope this guide has helped continue your music creation journey — keep the questions and comments coming at the end of the guide.

If you’re looking for some smart device DAWs instead (some, but not many, home studio artists are starting to go with this route due to convenience, although we still don’t recommend it right now), check out our best music making apps article since we made a separate guide altogether for that subcategory.

Ableton Live

Recommended level: All levels

Operating system: Mac or Windows

Free trial | Full versions (Live 10 Intro | Live 10 Standard)

Tutorials | Forum | Video

Since it’s introduction in 1999, Ableton Live has been steadily growing as a very popular DAW and for good reason. We know we’ve gotten scrutiny for listing it first, and everybody is entitled to their opinions. However, we feel this is the best digital audio workstation for most of our readers. Here’s why (and just a few reasons, considering it would take days to explain the power of this) — you’ve got the standard multi-track recording (an unlimited number of audio/MIDI tracks for songs) and cut/paste/splice features, but what’s especially great about this software is the seamless MIDI sequencing software and hardware. We’ve had so many fusses with our MIDI controllers getting mapped to our sounds through the DAW (back when we used Acid Pro in 2005-2010), but ever since the switch to Ableton it’s been extremely headache-free. Another huge plus is the included sound packages included. Although this really depends on your preferences and whether or not you have your gear and sounds up to speed, it comes with 23 sound libraries (about 50 GB of sounds), so you can make music right out-of-the-box (great for starters).

To finish off our description for the beloved Ableton, this thing is the absolute best music software for performing live with. We’ve experienced very few glitches (the biggest fear of performers…it can make or break a set). What’s even better is that Ableton has paired up with some brands to create gear specifically for the program, often matching interfaces with the software for easier pairing and remembering of sounds. Although this is an extremely simplified summary of the software, you can’t go wrong with Ableton Live, regardless of your “level” (how do you even categorize that?). We recommend trying it first to see what it’s all about — you then have two versions (intro for about a hundred bucks or standard for half a G — try intro first before you go all the way up).

FL Studio

Recommended level: Beginner and up

Operating system: Windows only

Free Trial | Full Version

Tutorials | Forum | Video

This is one of the best DAWs for those looking to start out and get their feet wet in the music making world. FL Studio by Image-Line has been out and about for quite some time, being one of the most popular software to date. It’s got your standard protocol with pitch shifting, correction, time-stretch, cut, paste and the works, but it’s interface is especially well-suited for the beginner. It’ll take a little bit of reading to start going, but once you’ve got the hang of it you’re good to go. There are plenty of YouTube videos out there dating back to 2005 giving tutorials for pretty much any feature you need explained. Their latest version includes over 30 synth software for out-the-box usage, so if you’ve just purchased a controller and want some sounds to start fiddling with you don’t have to spend much money.

You can use MIDI keyboards, record into it with a microphone, do your standard editing and mixing — it just gives you what you essentially need in music software with a simple interface. There are some advanced features as well, so once you become familiar with it you can delve further into these to attain a solid learning curve for the future, too. It’s very user-friendly, especially with adding some virtual instruments and playing them on MIDI. Another perk is it works great with PC or Mac. The retail price is also a lot lower than others out there, so it’s definitely budget-friendly. We’d recommend getting this if it’s for somebody younger as well. What made this program famous in our opinion and still does is the fact that 9th wonder uses FL Studio today (if anybody is a fan like us).

Apple Logic Pro X

Recommended level: Medium to expert

Operating system: Mac only

Full Version | No free trial available!

Tutorials |  Forum | Video

This is an amazing digital audio workstation, particularly for those with a Mac (not compatible with PC). What stands out with Logic Pro is the interface — very advanced to help with the music making process by including track consolidation (track stack), instrument layering, an intuitive mixer for plug-in control, and a “score editor” to allow you to create your own MIDI (comes with nine MIDI plug-ins that help you transform the sounds, such as chaining multiple plug-ins together, scale velocity, etc) tracks with only a mouse (most programs have this).  It has a “virtual drummer” feature which features an interactive drum set for visual implementation of drums for some fun playing and natural sounding kits. Also has an arpeggiator that’s better than a lot of software out there — it’s programmable too.

This thing is just jam-packed with features, synths, plug-ins, and not to mention a great interface for easy learning. Even if you’re a beginner, although not recommended, you can probably get away with using Logic — it’ll just take some time to learn it. Just remember, it’s worth sitting down for even a month or two to learn the basic ins and outs of this and you’re good to go for years. Logic Pro isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and their community is huge for any questions that may arise.  Another plus is it comes with a sound library and loop collection with some pretty fresh out-of-the-box effects as well, so if you’re looking for some sounds for your controllers/pads this is a plus.

It’s only usually priced around $200 retail, so it’s pretty easy on the wallet compared to others. Check out our best MIDI controller for Logic article if you need some gear, too. Just remember this only works with Mac. It’s stated to give Pro Tools a run for their money — I’d recommend grabbing it if you’re just a step below Pro Tools and don’t want to spend the money or take months or *gasp* take a class to learn it. If you want an easier interface that’s geared more towards beginners, you can read further until you get to Garageband — Apple’s more simple digital audio workstation that’s free.

Avid Pro Tools

Recommended level: Expert\professional

Operating system: Mac or Windows

Free Trial | Full Version

Tutorials | Forum | Video

What’s there to really say about Pro Tools by Avid? Or how about, what isn’t there to say? If you’re looking for the mixing and mastering industry standard (which is now debatable, I see from our comments over the past few years), this is the software to get. Ask any professional producer or sound engineer and they’ll say that anything else in the DAW world is just a waste of time. However, a lot of them say this after becoming certified in the program — as we stated before, there are entire school programs dedicated to Pro Tools. If we really wanted to describe this software to you it would take us 100 articles, but here’s a bit of a breakdown: It gives you the standard ability to compose, record, mix, edit, master, etc. What’s advanced is it has its own Avid Audio Engine which gives you a super fast processor, a 64-bit memory capacity for sessions (never lag, freeze, etc), its own latency input buffer to help with that annoying delay, and built-in metering. Change the tempo with time-stretch of any track, and there’s something called Elastic Pitch that’s a bit like autotune in the sense of ‘correcting’ harmonies. Also comes with 70 effects and plug-ins: reverb, compressors, EQ’s, channel stripping, the works — merely anything you can think of, Pro Tools has. I can’t even begin to list everything it can do.

We also know some pro musicians who use Pro Tools only for mixing and mastering and having an additional DAW to make their music from scratch. It’s compatible with both Mac and PC, although with Mac it works a bit better (was originally created strictly for this). Please note that we’ve heard a lot of reviews out there state that it’s very buggy on Windows, so use with caution. If you go big with Pro Tools, you’re set for life. Just know it takes hours, days, weeks or even months of learning it. But once you do, it’s not only the best music-making decision for you, but perhaps a future career prospect as well. We’re not sure if it’ll ever go away.

Propellerhead Reason

Recommended level: Slightly above beginner to semi-pro

Operating system: Mac and Windows

Free Version | Full Package

Tutorials | Forum | Video

Reason by Propellerhead is slightly less known in the music software community, but is one of the most stable as far as we’ve learned. Pretty nifty since you can drag and drop among the interface (such as synth patches and effects straight into the sequencer), has a relatively fast system as many have stated, and most importantly, the workflow is exceptional for those within the middle to semi-pro range. It’s not too complex but not that simple either — in our opinion right in the middle.  However, I’ve heard that some of the plug-ins offered by Reason are a bit out-of-date as compared to other DAWs like Fruity Loops.

Reason has a very solid mixing console, better than a lot out there besides Pro Tools or Logic. This is also a great DAW for those recording guitar or bass since it includes amp and speaker plug-ins from Softube. These are nice for adding effects and presets to your riffs and it works well with both PC and Mac. What’s pretty nifty is the software’s ability to cut and splice audio files automatically…although I’m a bit tedious when it comes to this, it’s nice to get those files chopped before you start digging in. Pretty accurate most of the time but others I have to clean them up a bit…ultimately it doesn’t hurt. Lastly and just for some more FYI, it supports all MIDI hardware so you’re pretty good to go in terms of essential features within a workstation. Nothing too huge like Pro Tools in a sense of mastering or more advanced effects features, but for half a grand retail, Reason is really giving other DAWs a run for their money.

Apple Garageband

Recommended level: Beginners only

Operating system: Mac only

Full Version (free)

Forum | Tutorials | Video

Garageband by Apple is an extremely popular DAW, especially among beginners. Extremely suitable for those in the starting stages of music, particularly younger ones or those who merely want to lay down some tracks and make some cool tunes. However, I have some friends who tour nation-wide that still use Garageband just because of its simplicity and ease of use for recording. We’d go with this over Fruity Loops in terms of starting from scratch as your first DAW if you’re on a Mac.

What’s also special about this software is its got the very user-friendly interface that helps you visualize what you’re making — keyboard, synths, and percussion. It offers some pretty solid presets for vocal and guitar recording as well, although nothing too out of the ordinary. It does have a few good amps and effects for the guitar or mic. As a cool little additive, if you’re looking to learn how to play piano, it’s got a nice built-in lesson function for both piano as well as guitar. It maps out the chords and explains what they are to help you get a better understanding of music theory. It supports your standard USB keyboard and gives you some loops built-in to mess around with (you can buy more through their app store), and there’s something called “Smart Controls” which is basically an interactive control of plug-ins — knobs, buttons, sliders, etc with images to really visualize what you’re doing behind the scenes.

Just an overall solid digital audio workstation for beginners, especially because it’s free. The way they monetize off of the software is basically purchases for more plug-ins, effects, and others; however, you can get away with what it comes with. A nice little touch is it’s compatibility with iPads if that’s what you’re looking for, a trend we’ve seen increase lately.

Steinberg Cubase

Recommended level: Semi-pro to expert

Operating system: Windows or Mac

Free Trial | Full Version

Tutorials | Forums | Video

You’d be surprised at how many people use Cubase music software. Steinberg has their signature key, score and drum editors included in the workstation. The Key Editor lets you manually edit your MIDI track in case you need move a note over here and there. You get your unlimited audio and MIDI tracks, reverb effects, incorporated VST’s, etc. Although it’s seen as a bit of a trend from these DAWs, ultimately trying to separate themselves from the competition, Cubase has one of the biggest sound libraries that come with the box. You’ve got something called the HALion Sonic SE 2 with a bunch of synth sounds, Groove Agent SE 4 with 30 drum kits, EMD construction kits, LoopMash FX, etc. Some of the most powerful plug-ins within a DAW. We recommend going with Cubase if that’s what you’re particularly looking for.

Some just say that it’s a bit expensive and very hard to learn — but as stated previously, once you learn it, you’re good to go for a very long time. I’d recommend going with Pro Tools or even Logic Pro if you’re going to be spending a lot of time learning a software, you might as well make it one of the more popular ones. If you buy it from Amazon you already get the eLicenser. It’s around $400 retail. Watch the videos on the Steinberg website to see what’s new in the latest version.

Cockos Reaper

Recommended level: Semi-pro and up

Operating system: Mac and Windows

Full Version

Tutorials | Forums | Video

Reaper by Cockos has lost a bit of popularity with the emergence of Ableton and Logic Pro, but it still holds strength as far as a dedicated DAW goes, and is actually more useful for those mixing or mastering needing flexibility. You download the software and get it for 60 days and then have to pay to download a license to keep it going. We feel this is a great strategy for both the brand and user since it allows us to try it out for an adequate amount of time without having to drop some dough. Reaper is pretty unique when it comes to comparing to other DAWs out there. It’s coded by a smaller group of individuals aimed to give us the mere essentials of a DAW without a bunch of features we probably we won’t ever use. You can drag and drop your VST’s and FX, map your MIDI controllers seamlessly, cut, paste, split and edit individual tracks, plug-in support for a majority of creators. This is basically an open-source, nitty-gritty software.

It supports most audio interfaces, plug-ins and effects. When downloading Reaper, you really have nothing to lose since you get to try it for 60 days before buying. If you’re shopping around and serious about your research, we say to give it a go since you get 60 days of full usage for free. Who knows? It may be the DAW for you, or perhaps some software to add to your toolbox when it comes to finalizing tracks after you complete the recording process (many popular producers do this).

PreSonus Studio

Recommended level: Beginner to semi-pro

Operating system: Mac or Windows

Free Version | Full Version

Tutorials | Message Boards | Video

Here we have a very stable music software by a brand we love, PreSonus. They include Studio One DAW in a lot of their products, such as their AudioBox iTwo audio interface we recently reviewed. This isn’t just a little add-on to products, however — It’s a full on standalone workstation giving you drag-and-drop functionality, unlimited tracks, MIDI, VST, buses and FX channels, as well as mastering integration (not necessarily on Pro Tools level), a Melodyne feature, and some nice reverb effects that sound very smooth (some of the best reverb some have heard). It’s stated to be a bit easier in terms of workflow as compared to more popular DAWs, such as Logic needing a few more extra steps to achieve a certain function you need. The interface isn’t that impressive in terms of aesthetics but I’d take workflow over looks any day — pretty standard.

The 64-bit sound engine gives you studio-quality recordings. It basically has all of the essentials and we see it competing against a lot of the other more known DAWs out there. It’ll take a bit to learn the mastering tools but if you need a software for that this can get you by if you are trying to avoid Pro Tools. It’s compatible with both Mac and Windows and starts around $400 retail. Check out their nice little package called the PreSonus AudioBox Studio which gives you Studio One (Artist version, not Pro), headphones, a mic, audio interface, and necessary cables. Otherwise, go with something more popular.

Sony Acid

Recommended level: Beginner and up

Operating system: Windows only

Free Trial | Full Version

Tutorials | Forum

Last but not least, this thing will always be our baby. When I first started making music in 2001, I had an old version of Acid Pro when it was still made by Sonic Foundry. I got so accustomed to it I continued to use Acid Pro 4.0 until early 2010 when I finally made my switch to Ableton. There were pros and cons for sticking with the software for so long, one pro mainly being that I knew it like the back of my hand. If my friends were ever over making music and wanted something done, I could merely press a hot-key and had it complete, getting some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ here and there. The downside was that it was a bit buggy when it came to MIDI incorporation and other more-advanced features that are available with DAWs nowadays. Their latest version is actually very stable and we recommend this for beginners until even semi-pro like we were for the past decade.

Acid Pro by Sony just does what you want in an essential-based manner. There’s the recording ability, loop audio tracks, and MIDI support. It’s got a pretty solid sound series loops (3,000 sounds) and comes with about 90 VST’s to mess around with using your MIDI controller. The time-stretch works pretty well too, something I’ve used quite a lot if I need to slow down or speed up a sample or track I’ve recorded. It’s downloadable and very cheap, around $60 retail, so if you’re looking for a budget-friendly DAW and one that has been around for decades — this is it.

 Loading ...

More gear reviews and guides in the realm...


VSTs and DAWs for no money

Make Music is FACT’s new section devoted to making music anywhere, whether you’re a seasoned producer or a total novice, using an arsenal of analog gear or just your iPhone.

You don’t need to break the bank to get all the software you need to start making music at home. Scott Wilson picks 10 free plug-ins, synths and DAWs that enable you to create a professional sound without spending a penny. 

The amount of free music software available on the internet has dwindled in recent years, but there’s a decent collection of free synths and VSTs around that are compatible with modern systems and you’ll still find in the folders of many professional artists.

However, finding this software is tricky. Most of it comes from an era before responsive web design, hosted on sites full of dead links and confusing descriptions that are likely to put people off before they’ve downloaded a single soft synth. That’s before you’ve worked out if something’s compatible with your computer.

A lot of it looks a little dated by today’s standards, but you can still find free music software and VSTs that are worth your time. Whether you want a DAW, a powerful synth or sampler for no money, this list will make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

REAPER(Cockos Incorporated)

If you want to try before you buy, all the major DAWs offer a free trial period, and one of the hidden gems is REAPER. The website says the trial lasts 60 days, but you won’t actually be forced to pay the nominal $60 fee for full access – simply nagged. REAPER is so good you’ll probably find yourself paying regardless, but if you’re broke, you’ll get unlimited access to a stable DAW that’s as powerful as Cubase and Logic.

Tracktion 4(Traktion)

If you don’t want to pay anything at all and you feel bad about cheating REAPER out of a paltry $60, there are a few DAWs out there that offer unlimited use for no money. One is Tracktion 4, which runs on Mac, Windows and Linux systems and uses a simple interface that should be familiar to anyone who’s used Garageband. It’s a few years old, but it’s still modern enough to run on 64-bit Mac and PC systems.

Noisemaker(Togu Audio Line)

If you want a simple, bold synth to get you started, Togu Audio Line’s Noisemaker is the one. It’s an analog modelling synth with three oscillators, making it one of the best free options for getting a vintage Minimoog-style sound. The controls are a lot easier for to understand than Ableton’s basic instruments too, making it ideal for novices.

Crystal(Green Oak)

Green Oak’s Crystal is one of the classic free synths. With FM, granular and wave sequencing synthesis capabilities, Crystal is capable of creating complex, evolving sounds. It looks a little aged next to other synths and it does take some time to get used to the multiple menus, but if you want to create otherworldly timbres, Crystal and its built-in effects will keep you involved for a long time.

Tyrell N6(u-he)

Developed by German online magazine Amazona.de, the Tyrell N6 was originally intended to be an affordable hardware synth inspired by Roland’s Juno-60. While we never got what could have been a great piece of hardware, we do have this free piece of software, which is perfect for capturing thick polyphonic sounds.

Dexed(Digital Suburban)

If you want something to create lush pad sounds, Dexed is the one to go for. It’s an emulation of the Yamaha DX7, and it captures the synth’s classic FM sound as well as any paid alternative. It’s also great for making bright keys and bold plucked and struck sounds, making it the perfect tool for livening up your percussion.

TX16Wx Professional Sampler(Cwitec)

If you want to try mangling samples to make your own sounds, the TX16Wx Professional is one of the most comprehensive and best updated free samplers you’ll find. Based on Yamaha’s rack-mounted TX16W sampler, it lets you record your own sounds and slice, edit, modulate and shape them into your own instruments.

Live 9 Lite(Ableton)

Ableton Live Lite 9 isn’t technically free: licences come on cards that come in the box of hardware such as MIDI controllers (Novation’s Launchkey for example). Lite is only a limited version of Ableton Live, but it’s one of the best ways to get access to one of the world’s most popular DAWs (digital audio workstation) for no money. It only lets you use eight recording tracks, but that’s more than enough to get started with, especially when you take into account the included selection of effects and instruments. If you don’t want to buy a controller, ask producer friends who might have bought some hardware recently if they have a Live Lite license they don’t need – they can be redeemed by anyone, not just the buyer of the hardware it came with.

MFreeEffectsBundle(Melda Production)

Effects can be the most daunting category of free software to explore, but if you just want a selection of basic effects and utilities, then Melda Production’s MFreeEffectsBundle is worth a look. The 25 utilities range from a simple noise generator and phaser to a six-band equaliser. The included software offers only limited functionality compared to its paid offerings, but there’s still a lot of useful stuff in here.

Effects(Togu Audio Line)

As well as making great free synths, TAL makes some solid free effects too. Not all are currently supported, but its Reverb, Filter and Vocoder all do exactly what they’re supposed to, albeit with no frills. The most interesting effect of the bunch is the TAL Chorus, which is modelled on the effect from Roland’s Juno-60 synthesizer.


Compression is essential for beefing up certain elements of a track, especially kick drums. It’s all too easy to go overboard however, which is what makes the Klanghelm DC1A so brilliant. With the saturation level controlled simply by the input dial, it keeps the process simple, much like the vintage piece of equipment it’s based on.


Spectrum analysers aren’t the most exciting software tools, but they’re essential for identifying where any unwanted high or low-end frequencies are coming from. Voxengo’s SPAN is one of the best, with a clean, colour coded interface and the option to view spectrums from two different channels at the same time. If you’re clueless when it comes to EQing your tracks, this is a great free tool.

VOS SlickEQ(Tokyo Dawn Records)

Once you’ve identified the frequencies in your mix that need tweaking, you’ll need an equaliser. TDR’s VOS SlickEQ is one of the best free offerings, with a foolproof interface. It also features four different EQ models – British, American, German and Soviet – making it a useful download for those who might want something a little different from their usual EQ plug-in.

Komplete Players(Native Instruments)

Native Instruments is known for its high-end – and often expensive – software. If you don’t want to pay a small fortune for Komplete, then you can get the Komplete Player bundle for nothing. It features Kontakt 5 Player, Reaktor 5 Player and Guitar Rig 5 Player, meaning you get a sample player, capable synth and effects engine with 600 MB of sounds. It might be a gateway drug into a very expensive world, but considering you could make entire tracks with just these devices, the Komplete Players offer exceptional value.

Scott Wilson is on Twitter

Read next: How to make music on your iPad: The best synths, drum machines and more


Background Music: Soft, Relaxing and Romantic Tracks

These songs have a soft, melancholy or nostalgic sound. The songs may be used for non-commercial purposes; simply provide the credit: music by longzijun (Except of course for those songs by featured guests. For these songs, which are indicated with a ‘*’, you should use the credits shown below the video).Read the Terms of Use.Go the Free Background Music main page


Background Music: Gentle, Romantic and/or Melancholy Songs

Information regarding download links is below each video. You can also consider selecting songs from Soft and Relaxing Background Music: Chillout and Ambient Music (the tracks on that page tend to have a little more of a beat and a little less emphasis on melody.

Somewhere Deep in the Sea: Composed and Performed by Jessica Yip (2:42, Background Music 38)

A gentle, melancholy but beautiful piano instrumental.

Crediting InformationSomewhere Deep in the SeaComposed and performed by Jessica YipProduced by longzijun

The download links for the music files (MP3 versions and WAV files) are on this page: Somewhere Deep in the Sea (Background Music 38). 

Broken (3:17, Background Music 35)

A three-minute gentle and sad song played on piano. It is influenced by classical minuets but is more minimalist and contemporary in feel. The download links for the music files (MP3 versions and WAV files) are on this page: Broken (Background Music 35). 

I Vow to Thee, My Country*: Piano arrangement and performance by Kate Kwok (2:12, Background Music 34)

Crediting InformationVow to Thee, My Country. Arrangement and performance by Kate Kwok (2015); composition by Gustav Mahler and Sir Cecil Spring Rice (1921).

The download links for the music files (MP3 versions and WAV files) are on this page: I Vow to Thee, My Country: (Background Music 34). 

Almost a Love Story (5:00 Background Music 26)

A sweet but wistful, melodic ballad influenced by the soundtrack music of Joe Hisaishi.The download links for the music files (MP3 versions and WAV files) are on this page: Almost a Love Story. 

Echoes & Fragments (3:00, Background Music 30)

A gentle minimalist piano piece. The download links for the music files (MP3 versions and WAV files) are on this page: Echoes & Fragments (Background Music 30). 

Lock and Love (6:20, Background Music 24)

This is a romantic and melodic song with with flute, strings and acoustic guitar, bass and percussion. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to Background Music 24: Lock and Love. 

Wild Illusion* by Nikolaos Taramanidis (5:43, Background Music 28)

An acoustic guitar ballad with faint echoes of Pink Floyd.

Crediting InformationMusic: Wild Illusion by Nikolaos Taramanidis

For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to Background Music 28: Wild Illusion Nikolaos Taramanidis. 

Elegy (4:53, Background Music 17)

Download MP3: Elegy 

As long as a word remains unspoken (2:15, Background Music 22)

Download MP3:As long as a word remains unspoken  

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in E-flat major, Op.23, No. 6 (Andante)*: Performed by Tong Chi-ling (2:55, Classical Music 01)

Crediting InformationPrelude in E-flat major, Op.23, No. 6 (Andante). Composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1901-1903). Performed by Tong Chi-ling (2012).

Download MP3: Prelude in E-flat majorDispute information: On YouTube, it is quite common to get false content ID matches and copyright claims on original performances of public domain work. Should you get such a claimd, you should dispute it, stating:

The composition and arrangement for the song being claimed (>Rachmaninoff Prelude in E-flat Major, Op. 23, No. 6) are in the public domain. It was composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff between 1901 and 1903. The recording is an original recording performed by Tong Chi-long. It is produced by longzijun. The recording is available for use for free for non-commercial purposes and in monetized YouTube videos (that are otherwise non-commercial in nature) as long as the music is properly credited, which I have done in the video description. The permission is given on the video page for the song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac2IiRNEr14), on the website Longzijun (http://wp.me/pury4-IK) and on this ToS page (https://longzijun.wordpress.com/music/free-background-music-series-terms-of-use/).


Memoryne (3:30, Background Music 25)

Piano instrumental, classical. This is a gentle and melodic song that is somewhat in the style of a minuet. The mood is nostalgic; it is somewhat sad, but light at the same time. Though it is classical in style, the harmonic progression is inspired by the jazz standard My Funny Valentine. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to Background Music 25: Memoryne. 

Short Themes (Less than one minute)

The Mercury Tale* by Jessica Yip (0:53, Short Instrumental 15)

Crediting InformationCredits: The Mercury Tale: Music by Jessica Yip (2015)

A short and gentle, anime-inspired piano song.Download MP3: The Mercury TaleDownload WAV (for higher quality): The Mercury Tale by Jessica Yip 

Love vs Time (0:24, Instrumental Theme 04)Download MP3: Love vs Time

Memoryne Short Music Box Version (0:55, Background Music 25b)Here is a version of the main theme of Memoryne but in a music box style.The middle part ended up being too busy (too many notes), so this arrangement features the main melody only. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to Background Music 25: Memoryne (select the music box version).

Return to Music

Like this:

Like Loading...



Смотрите также